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Shit’s getting weird: 5 things 16.3.20

  • So it’s officially a pandemic and while that surprises exactly no one, exactly no one knows what to actually expect, or how to find the balance between paranoid and not paranoid enough. Life is obviously not going to be normal for the next few weeks or months. But how bad is bad? We’ve cancelled Claudia’s birthday parties (friends as well as family), which may be ridiculous, but then again with schools closed, it seems like bringing them all together would rather defeat the purpose. She’s taking it well. Mostly she’s really excited about the prospect of home schooling. Yes, she really is excited about the actual study part. Let’s see how long it lasts.
  • My plan for the next while is mostly to just hunker down with my kids and enjoy being together. Yes, we’ll do school stuff (I plan to run school-style “periods” on a 45-min timer interspersed with breaks, not that much but sometimes, purely so that I can get a little work done) but we’ll also watch a lot of TV and do a lot of baking and breaking a lot of rules about what’s “healthy” or “good” for us. You know how, when something bad happens that doesn’t affect you (an earthquake, a school shooting), everyone talks about going home and hugging your loved ones extra tight? It’s like that, except the bad thing affects all of us, and the hug is pretty much a few months long. It seems appropriate to really lean into it.
  • From contacts in Italy or in hospitals I’m hearing everything from “you’re really not worrying enough” to “we have a PLAN, it’s not going to be that bad”. So who knows? Am I just over-dramatising in my own head? I can tell you that in there, shit’s getting real. But out in the world, all we actually see is worry, without visible cause for the worry. But we know the cause is there. It’s just all so removed… so far.
  • Armin had the wire removed from his broken hand on Wednesday – we were both quietly relieved hospitals still had time for non-virus business. Now he is trying to weigh up whether he should be cycling to work (risk of re-breaking the bone if he falls again) or taking the train (risk of catching and spreading the virus). The latter seems like the bigger risk overall, but the smaller risk to him personally. It’s a shit equation to try to resolve.
  • On Friday night we had drinks with friends, including someone who teaches at a school where the virus has apparently shown up, and we were hugging and enjoying each other as much as ever. Well, no hugs for teacher, but I doubt that made much difference. This basically normal evening felt shockingly transgressive. Nothing’s going to be normal for a solid while now, so I’m glad we had that. But we probably shouldn’t have.

Nos 14-15 of #52recipes: these mini potato gratins and these cauliflower fritters. Both were good, and pretty easy, but the fritters were “omg these fritters!!1!” good.  

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